I’ve been sitting here this morning while on vacation reading over a couple ofÂ iPad reviews (kids are still in bed from a late night at a theme park). One review is from Walt Mossberg at the Wall St Journal and the other is from David Pogue at the New York Times. I found both reviews via a GottaBeMobile post discussing the battery life on the iPad.
According to Mossberg, “My verdict is that, while it has compromises and drawbacks, the iPad can indeed replace a laptop for most data communication, content consumption and even limited content creation, a lot of the time. But it all depends on how you use your computer.” My initial thought was that he was crazy, but the more I read through his description of uses the more I realized he’s probably correct. Many people already use their iPhone or iPod touch for what he identifies as mainly a “web surfer, note-taker, social-networker and emailer, and a consumer of photos, videos, books, periodicals and music” device.
Along the same lines, Pogue says that “The bottom line is that you can get a laptop for much less money â€” with a full keyboard, DVD drive, U.S.B. jacks, camera-card slot, camera, the works. Besides: If youâ€™ve already got a laptop and a smartphone, whoâ€™s going to carry around a third machine?”. Even though this sounds like the opposite of what Mossberg had to say it’s really the same thing.
Bottom like is that you’re not going to make this device your production machine. If you’re a coder, database designer, etc you’ll still need a laptop or desktop machine. However if you need a device with similar functionality to your iPhone/iPod touch for email, short correspondence, movies, music or games then you and the iPad will probably be very happy together. Only time will tell
My wife and I had a lengthy discussion about the iPad a few days ago. I have one on the way and we’re trying to decide whether or not to get one for her. Strange really when you consider we’ve never actually laid hands on the device. Anyway, my wife pointed out that to really make the iPad useful it has to be on your person when you need it; good point. This is similar to the e-reader dilemma that I run into. I know several people with either a Nook or Kindle and when I ask to see the device they frequently tell me they don’t have it with them. They typically say “if I would have known you wanted to look at it I would have brought it”. I realize the iPad will have more functionality, but it is larger than a typical e-reader. The thing that makes the iPhone/iPod touch so darn useful is the fact that you can throw it in your pocket. People always have their phone with them. Are you likely to carry your iPad with the same consistency? A question worth asking. For women that carry a purse or handbag it may not be an issue. For women that don’t or men that don’t carry a briefcase everywhere they go it may be a problem. My Dell tablet is rather small when compared to full sized laptops, but I don’t carry it with me unless I think I’ll need it. I would if it was convenient, but it won’t fit in my pocket so I don’t. Pretty simple.
Here’s something else from Pogue’s review that I found interesting: “Thereâ€™s an e-book reader app, but itâ€™s not going to rescue the newspaper and book industries (sorry, media pundits). The selection is puny (60,000 titles for now). You canâ€™t read well in direct sunlight. At 1.5 pounds, the iPad gets heavy in your hand after awhile (theÂ Kindle is 10 ounces). And you canâ€™t read books from the Apple bookstore on any other machine â€” not even a Mac or iPhone.” – I’ve said it many times, reading a book on a back-lit screen is a terrible reading experience. That’s why I like the e-reader screens. For me the iPad was never going to be a good device for reading. I see no difference between reading on the iPad and my tablet flipped into slate mode. I prefer a paper document or reading on my daughter’s Nook over reading off a computer screen.
I certainly believe the iPad will be overwhelmingly accepted by the general public. Apple currently has the golden touch when it comes to consumer electronics and the iPad won’t be any different. I plan to use mine as a test device in the pharmacy. If I can get 10-plus hours of battery life out of a device that pharmacists can use as a tool to access patient information and drug information resources from the patient bedside, then I will consider it a success. I’ve already asked some of the pharmacists about using it, and their response has been lukewarm at best. Most want to know if it will have a keyboard; uh, nope.Â So far most of the pharmacists prefer the convertible tablet pc models over the slate because they can quickly access a physical keyboard when necessary. Regardless of the iPad’s “coolness factor”, it will have to meet the needs of the pharmacists to be effective. I’m just sayin’.